Adam Northcroft
The list of love will keep you on track

God knows that we are forgetful. I am perfectly capable of going to the supermarket with a list of three things in my head and forgetting at least two of them by the time I arrive. Instead of cheese, milk and ham, I come away with cheese, chocolate and wine!

It seems the really important things in life are just as forgettable. So, as with shopping and me, the answer is to write it all down. We need reminding, a memory jog to keep us on track.

That’s what God does through His word, the Bible. He has very kindly written down all the top priorities. He lists out exactly what we need to make a special effort to remember and act on. He does this by telling us to love those things.

So, what’s on His list?

Well, we are urged first and foremost to love Him. To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This is something we are all really good at not doing. Humans instinctively want to love themselves, money or pleasure, but life just works best when we put Him first. All other priorities fall into place more easily when we get this one right.

The Bible also urges Christians to love other Christians (John 13). That’s a tough one sometimes. Church life is great, but there are times when loving Christians takes real determination and patience.

We are also told to love other people. That includes all people, whatever their cast, creed or religion. There are no exceptions to this. God loves people and He wants us to do the same.

God is so keen on people loving other people He even says to us: ‘love your enemies’. That really goes against the grain for most of us. Why would we do that? Isn’t that just dumb?

However, God tells us if we love like that we become like Him. We are acting like His sons and daughters, which is what He wants. It also takes a big heart and help from the Holy Spirit. We simply can’t do this without His empowerment.

Last on my list, He tells husbands to love their wives.

Husbands are very apt at forgetting their wives, which is probably why the Bible specifically picks out the men rather than the women on this one.

Often men love their work or technology or sport instead. It’ll probably be wrapped up in a cloak of self-justification, something like ‘I need down time after my busy week’ or ‘I’m making money so the family will benefit’. But the truth is we just get taken up with other things that seem more satisfying or important at the time.

Failing to nurture love for a wife mean a marriage is moving in the wrong direction, and if a man ends up losing a wife he loses much more besides. He can lose his home, his children, his money and the opportunity to go deeper with the woman he fell in love with years earlier.

Separation breaks hearts and even if that’s not yours, most likely someone will take a heavy hit.

God is a God of love. He’s set an amazing example of loving us through Jesus and wants us to copy Him.

God’s list of love will help keep you on track.